Some people think the most hated word in the world is Trump, but that is not necessarily so (it may be the second). No, it is the word “millennials” that makes many people grind their teeth.
Millennials, or Generation Y, were born from the mid-1990s to the early 2000s, making them now about ages 25 to 34. This is the group that won award statues just for showing up to a sport or social event. Last in their soccer league or last in their spelling bee contest? No problem: Here is a plaque or statue to commemorate last place. This is also the first generation that will touch only what is digital, not analog. In simpler terms, a Ma Bell dial telephone for them is what a telegraph was to me – something seen only in a museum. Is there a reason to live without wi-fi?
I have been following the millennials since their conception in both the social and mass media. I guess this is because my own baby boomer generation (1945 to 1964) was so widely criticized as being the Me Generation that killed off the Greatest Generation that built this country to its greatest power.
Well, to get on with it, the last news I heard on the millennials was that these merry boys and girls constitute the highest group of social beings on anti-depressant and anti-anxiety drugs. You see, in the real world, businesses do not give out last place awards.
Millennials who originally wanted to fulfill the American dream of home ownership now see it as an albatross around their necks. They can put up with the grass cutting and buying heating oil, but the repair costs (and finding someone to do the repairs) take up too much of their free time and money. So for them, paying $2,500 a month to rent a one-bedroom apartment provides freedom to move anywhere they wish, when they wish. In smaller apartments, they can live closer to the action of the big city. But the easiest solution for millennials is to live at home. In 2015, 34% in the age range of 18 to 34 still lived at home, up from 26% in 2005.
There was a CBS TV news story on millennials and transportation. It seems they no longer want the freedom of the road and owning cars. They prefer mass transportation, renting bicycles, electric scooters, and Uber. No car payments, insurance cost, or car repairs for this group. Ridesharing or carpooling is also a good alternative.
A recent Survivor TV show about millennials versus Generation X listed the careers of millennials ranging in age from 18 to 31, with the average being 25: homeless shelter manager, barista, bartender, real estate agent, professional gamer, vacation club salesperson, missionary recruiter, ski instructor, student, asset manager. Nothing here setting the world on fire – just enough to pay for living costs, bar tabs, eating out every night, and zip-lining in the Costa Rican jungle on vacation.
The one thing that all millennials want is a thrill-packed vacation in another country. The hot spots are New Zealand, Australia, Costa Rica, and all points south of the border. If it has the world’s longest zip line, bungee jumping in a chair off the highest cliff, going down the longest water slide, or a walk through Jurassic Park, they want to feel the adrenaline rush.
Am I, or the mass media, being too rough on the millennials, the future leaders of this country? Millennials are now realizing that they lack certain life skills such as how to cook, budget, sew on a button, manage time, talk to someone, manage conflict, have a relationship, express love – in other words, how to be an adult! Classes on how to be an adult are actually being offered in Queens, New York, and there is an Adulting School in Portland, Maine. The latter is offered online to reach a wider audience. It makes me wonder where the millennials’ parents were when they were being raised.